SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.VA. – The last two teams standing and seeking the Class A state softball title were both Little Kanawha Conference schools – Ritchie County and Wahama.
The fifth battle of the season between the teams, Wahama contributed a trio of runs in the third inning which proved the deciding factor in the Lady Falcons claiming their first-ever state championship, 5-3, on June 23.
The Lady Rebel bats were alive and the girls counted two runs in the top of the initial frame. Alyvia Pittman garnered a hit to begin, Marissa Jeffrey then had a fielder’s choice which put Pittman out at second. Chloe Elliott was hit by a pitch, followed by Olivia Dodd’s single to center, sending Jeffrey home. Jayci Gray was also hit by a pitch and Lillie Law found base on another fielder’s choice that loaded the path. A walk to Maci Ireland allowed Dodd to return for the score prior to the last out.
Two singles by Mikie Lieving and Emma Gibbs resulted in runs for the Lady Falcons in the bottom of the first, deadlocking the total at 2-2.
In the third, Ritchie County had lead-off Elliott walk, Dodd single and Gray hit; however, Dodd was out at second on the fielder’s choice. A pair of 5-3 plays then finished the side.
The bottom of the inning is where Wahama took charge and plated three runs to gain the upper hand.
Lady Rebel pitcher Chloe Elliott left the mound in the third, as Coach Dave Mossor went with southpaw Lillie Law. Facing four batters, Wahama took advantage of the situation to score thrice and never trailed again. Lieving, Gibbs and Amber Wolfe all reached home before Elliott returned to finish and didn’t allow another run by the Lady Falcons.
A double was given to Pittman in the fourth, but she ventured no further.
Elliott’s single in the fifth resulted in a Ritchie County run, as courtesy runner Kiarra Weekley rounded the diamond to score, making the total also the final at 5-3. The Lady Rebel had the chance, leaving bases loaded once more.
In the seventh, Dodd singled and made it to third, and Ireland was hit by a pitch, but both were also marooned and a strikeout closed the contest.
In her final appearance in a Lady Rebel uniform, Chloe Elliott went six innings, fanning six Wahama batters and walking one.
Lady Falcon winning hurler Mikie Lieving, who pitched every pitch for every inning the entire season, completed seven innings with four strikeouts and two walks, permitting 14 hits.
Offensively, Ritchie County doubled up on the Lady Falcons, as the Lady Rebels supplied 10 hits and left 11 on base in the loss, compared to Wahama’s six hits and five remaining on base.
Coach Dave Mossor, who has served 37 years as the Lady Rebel skipper, said after the tournament, “We got as far as we anticipated. The girls wanted that. In extenuating circumstances, we could have beat Wahama. I had to try Lillie Law (as pitcher), to see what she could do. I made the mistake of putting her in at top of the line up, instead of bottom. Chloe did a commendable job and I am proud of those girls.”
Class A all-tournament team selections included Alyvia Pittman, Lillie Law and Chloe Elliott, Ritchie County; Sydney Sheets, Midland Trail; Amber Wolfe, Tori VanMetre, Morgan Christian and Mikie Lieving, Wahama; and Kymberly Minnich and Lauren Alt, Petersburg.
“Hitting top to bottom was good. You have to have defense to win championships. There were a couple of breakdowns, but I cannot remember having as young an infield and as good of an infield,” said Mossor. “
“In 37 years and on the state committee two different times, I would have loved to watch the AAA and AA games, but couldn’t due to the venue.”
Mossor did commend his assistants, stating they were two of the best – Eric Burgess and Abby Davis.
“I didn’t have to do anything. I got fields ready and did organization throughout the season, and when it came time to hitting and playing the game, they know it. Eric is as professional as they come.”
Wahama kept its record unblemished, finishing the season with a 27-0 record.
Lady Rebel results: Alyvia Pittman 2-4; Marissa Jeffrey 1-4, run; Chloe Elliott 1-2, run, walk; Olivia Dodd 4-4, run, RBI; Lillie Law 1-4; Maci Ireland, walk; Chaslyn Jones 1-3
WP: Mikie Lieving, 7 IP, 4 SO, 2 BB
LP: Chloe Elliott, 6 IP, 6 SO, 1 BB